HE 2006

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Robert Deutsch  |  Jun 03, 2006  |  0 comments
Shanling is known for the striking industrial design of their tube electronics. Seen in the Music Hall room, the new A500 integrated amp ($6499) maintains the striking looks, but it's solid-state. Lots of nice blue lights, though.
Stephen Mejias  |  Jun 03, 2006  |  0 comments
"At first, we didn't want to sell these speakers," admitted Jay Rein of the adorable Neat Motives. "I mean, who needs another nineteen hundred dollar speaker?"
Jason Victor Serinus  |  Jun 03, 2006  |  1 comments
Unexpected amusement greeted me in the small Covenant Audio & Aaudio Imports room. As soon as I entered, an overgrown post-adolescent seated himself in the sweet spot, took one look at the visually stunning Wavac HE-833v1.3 tube monoblocks ($69,000/pair), Wavac PR-T1 tube preamp (a mere $30K), Acapella High Violin MK 888 horn speakers ($48,000/pair—where do they get these names?), and Accustic Arts Drive and DAC ($12,800 together), all held together and powered by assorted cables and power products from PranaWire, Stealth and Isoclean, and blurted out, "This looks like super-high end."
Wes Phillips  |  Jun 03, 2006  |  0 comments
Ping Gong, AAA Audio's energetic director, shyly told me he had brought "something special" to the show. Knowing AAA's penchant for high-value, low-cost hi-fi, I expected something modest, but impressive. What he had brought was just flat-out impressive.
John Atkinson  |  Jun 02, 2006  |  First Published: Jun 03, 2006  |  2 comments
Yesterday, we published a photo—see http://blog.stereophile.com/he2006/060106dryeye—of audiophiles listening to a CD-R of the provisional master of "Shenandoah" from my new recording of Cantus' There Lies the Home album, due for release in July, on the new Wilson WATT/Puppy 8s. You can see in that picture Wilson's Peter McGrath about to shoot a photo. This is what he captured. But what is Mikey Fremer holding in his hand?
Robert Deutsch  |  Jun 03, 2006  |  1 comments
VTL announced a major upgrade to their TL-7.5 Reference Linestage Preamplifier (current gain technology, with dramatically lower noise floor), which is now the TL-7.5 Series II. They also have an upgraded version of the MB-450 monoblocks and a new 250Wpc MB-185. Pictured: VTL’s Bea Lam with the system that featured the TL-7.5/MB-450 combo driving Wilson Sophia 2s. Lovely sound.
Jon Iverson  |  Jun 03, 2006  |  3 comments
Ultimate Audio Video had the Ferguson Hill FH007 Mini System set up out in the hall. Yes you can have horns and an iPod too.
Jon Iverson  |  Jun 03, 2006  |  1 comments
Here's another shot of the Ask The Editors seminar, this time from the audience.
Jon Iverson  |  Jun 03, 2006  |  0 comments
. . . Go To Jail. An appropriate license plate parked out front of the Sheraton at HE2006.
Robert Deutsch  |  Jun 03, 2006  |  2 comments
Ask the Editors: the view from the stage. The questions this year did not include the usual ones about which exhibits people liked the most, recommendations about tweaks, and why Stereophile doesn’t do blind testing in all reviews. Instead, there were questions about things like intellectual property rights, the future of various audio formats, and whether multichannel represents a worthwhile enhancement of the music-listening experience. Very polite and friendly.
Stephen Mejias  |  Jun 03, 2006  |  0 comments
Bluebird Music's Jay Rein, with the very cute Neat Motive loudspeaker ($1995/pair) in the foreground.
Jason Victor Serinus  |  Jun 03, 2006  |  4 comments
My final visit of the Show's first public day was to Jay Rein's Bluebird Music, Ltd. room. Tucked into a small niche in a space otherwise dominated by Chord electronics and Neat loudspeakers (which Jay considers an ideal match for Chord) sat an unobtrusive Exposure system consisting of the Exposure 2010S CD player and integrated amp ($1250 each) connected to diminutive NEAT Acoustics Motive 2 loudspeakers ($1995/pair) by entry-level Kubala-Sosna speaker cables. Rein and CA dealer Michael Silver of Audio High then proceeded to blow my mind with budget magic. As was the case with the new, even lower-priced Denon system I described yesterday, the system's evenly balanced, full-range sound blew me away. Now I understand why Stereophile has heaped praise on Exposure Electronics. I'd love to hear this stuff powered by after-market power cables and a power conditioner of some sort. Stuff that sounds this good can only sound better when given the opportunity to demonstrate its full potential.
Wes Phillips  |  Jun 03, 2006  |  1 comments
Direct-marketer Aperion Audio was demonstrating its new $750/pair 533-T tower loudspeaker, built around two 5.25" mid/bass drivers and a 1" silk-dome tweeter. Aperion's cabinets employ 1" MDF and internal bracing, so they're extremely rigid. Aperion not only offers 30-day in-home auditions, but they pay return shipping if you choose not to buy—and they even offer a one year trade-up policy that refunds 100% of the cost of a speaker if you buy a better speaker from them.
Jason Victor Serinus  |  Jun 03, 2006  |  1 comments
After lunch, I wandered into the Joseph Audio room. I had initially encountered Jeff Joseph on Wednesday afternoon as he was attempting to cart four huge boxes of equipment into the hotel by stacking them one atop the other on a flimsy two-wheel luggage cart. Needless to say, upon encountering a small hump at the hotel threshold, the poor thing began to bend under the weight, unceremoniously depositing Jeff's boxes on the floor. Like someone kicking a mule whose hind legs have collapsed under it, Jeff attempted to wrestle with the beast, trying to convince it to perform its intended duty. The man may have the wherewithal to produce uncommon speakers that have received three "Best Sound at the Show" honors, but he seems to share a common human failing with yours truly—an occasional refusal to acknowledge the obvious.
Wes Phillips  |  Jun 03, 2006  |  1 comments
Bob Reina stopped me in the halls and asked, "Have you heard the water-cooled triodes?" Huh? Turns out the $59,000/pair Von Gaylord Audio Uni Signature Editions monoblock power amplifiers use exterior transmission-grade tubes submerged in an oil coolant, I presume and you can really see the thermal motion of the coolant, so I'm guessing the tubes run hot.